My House Is Killing Me!: The Home Guide for Families with Allergies and Asthma

My House Is Killing Me!: The Home Guide for Families with Allergies and Asthma

by Jeffrey C. May
     
 

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It's a world we barely see, but it is teeming with life. In the dust of a typical house, carpet beetles, mites, silverfish, and other creatures live and die, producing new generations every few months. Mold, bacteria, and yeast lurk undetected in heating and cooling systems. Debris dispersed into the air from these organisms can cause runny noses, itchy eyes,

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Overview

It's a world we barely see, but it is teeming with life. In the dust of a typical house, carpet beetles, mites, silverfish, and other creatures live and die, producing new generations every few months. Mold, bacteria, and yeast lurk undetected in heating and cooling systems. Debris dispersed into the air from these organisms can cause runny noses, itchy eyes, coughing, headaches, and breathing difficulties. Some people, especially those made highly sensitive by allergies, suffer from devastating health problems and the worry that, as one such sufferer lamented, "My house is killing me!"

Scrutinizing house dust and air samples with a microscope, indoor air quality expert Jeffrey C. May has spent his career helping people identify what's causing their chronic health problems. In My House Is Killing Me! he draws on the dramatic personal stories of his clients' suffering and relief to help readers understand the links between environmental factors and problems like allergies and asthma. Explaining how air conditioning, finished basements, and other home features affect air quality, he offers a step-by-step approach to identifying, controlling, and often eliminating the sources of indoor pollutants and allergens. If we could see this contamination, May observes, the air would look as murky as stagnant water, and we would know not to breathe it.

Reading My House Is Killing Me! lets you see your house the way an expert would. Just as he looks at spaces and systems during an indoor air quality investigation, May focuses first on the areas of daily life (bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen), then looks into attics and basements (including heating and air conditioning), and finally moves outside to the garage and the exterior of a home. Along with offering a wealth of practical advice and proven solutions for various problems, he includes a glossary of terms and a list of valuable resources.

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Editorial Reviews

William J. Monafo
Working with Jeff May has completely changed my attitude toward the impact of the indoor world on human illness. His work has allowed us to focus on the true sources of allergic disease—the microscopic organisms that the immune system must deal with every second we spend indoors. His advice profoundly benefits families with environmental sensitivity, including those with immunologic conditions beyond allergy and asthma.
Jonathan M. Samet
Much as physicians cure sick persons, Mr. May and other indoor air quality professionals 'cure' sick homes and buildings. Unless the cause of illnesses arising from indoor allergens or other pollutants is effectively addressed, medical treatments may be extended unnecessarily or may even be ineffective . . . This book will be informative for those who think their health problems may be caused by their homes. Such problems can be frustrating to affected persons and to their health care providers, who are often unaware that the quality of indoor environments is connected with health and disease.
Frank J. Twarog
With a sharp increase in the incidence of asthma, respiratory allergies and other respiratory allergy symptoms, the need for clear information regarding environmental triggers is crucial. This guide provides in a very organized fashion sources of not only allergic but also irritant and toxic exposures in the home environment. This text together with the author's extensive experience in evaluating homes for risks provides patients and parents with respiratory problems, an invaluable resource to begin addressing some of their concerns and investigating possible causes for symptoms. Considering much of the misinformation provided in the lay press, it is reassuring to find a resource to which I can direct my patients for practical and reliable information!
Richard S. Irwin
I have had the opportunity to work with Jeff and he is the 'real thing.' He has helped many of my patients. After reading My House is Killing Me!, I am convinced that it is a must read for patients with respiratory problems and the physicians who care for them. His book is also a must read for anyone who owns a home or is about to purchase or renovate one.
Library Journal
Asthma and allergy sufferers, this book is essential reading: it will answer all your questions about why you suffer in your own home and what you can do to prevent it. May, an air quality investigator and president of a home investigation company, takes you on a tour of your home, both interior and exterior, with a detailed description of the organic and inorganic substances that are making you ill. He covers every room, including the basement, attic, laundry room, garage, heating and air-conditioning system(s), and nooks and crannies that you probably forgot about. He explains how insects, molds, bacteria, yeast, dust, moisture, larvae, pet dander, fabric fibers, smoke, and many other agents can trigger an episode and how to eliminate them permanently. May provides actual stories from his many years of experience with the solutions he has recommended to his clients. Todd Schultze's A Safe Haven? (LJ 4/01/01) complements May's work with practical advice on ridding your home of toxic hazards like radon, asbestos, and lead. Both will serve for years to come as the definitive guides to establishing disease-free living environments. [See also John Bower's The Healthy House, LJ 9/1/00. Ed.] Irving Weintraub, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booklist

A first-rate reference that is enjoyable to read.

The Mold Reporter
Jeffrey May is a skillful writer, and uses an informal style that is well suited to communication with a broad audience... This is the best book I've read in years. I couldn't put it down... It painlessly educates the reader about problem houses.

— Ellen McCrady

Architecture Boston
May has made a timely, helpful—and even entertaining—contribution to a field that demands attention.

— Wagdy Anin

Synergist
Great light reading for the professional... Gives the average person control over his or her environment.

— Donna Weeks

WebMD
I just finished reading this superb book with a multitude of examples of homes with poor indoor air quality which caused health problems for the occupants. You will find this book very helpful for finding the factors which worsen your asthma. Five out of five stars for this book.

— Dr. Enright

Washington Times
By giving a wide variety of excellent advice on identifying and cleaning up common household environmental hazards, Mr. May will help you make your home a more comfortable place to live—even if you don't have allergies.

— Ilyce Glink

Natural Home

Practical advice and proven solutions.

The Mold Reporter - Ellen McCrady

Jeffrey May is a skillful writer, and uses an informal style that is well suited to communication with a broad audience... This is the best book I've read in years. I couldn't put it down... It painlessly educates the reader about problem houses.

Architecture Boston - Wagdy Anin

May has made a timely, helpful—and even entertaining—contribution to a field that demands attention.

Synergist - Donna Weeks

Great light reading for the professional... Gives the average person control over his or her environment.

WebMD - Dr. Enright

I just finished reading this superb book with a multitude of examples of homes with poor indoor air quality which caused health problems for the occupants. You will find this book very helpful for finding the factors which worsen your asthma. Five out of five stars for this book.

Washington Times - Ilyce Glink

By giving a wide variety of excellent advice on identifying and cleaning up common household environmental hazards, Mr. May will help you make your home a more comfortable place to live—even if you don't have allergies.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801876493
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
04/01/2003
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
645,000
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Richard S. Irwin

I have had the opportunity to work with Jeff and he is the 'real thing.' He has helped many of my patients. After reading My House is Killing Me!, I am convinced that it is a must read for patients with respiratory problems and the physicians who care for them. His book is also a must read for anyone who owns a home or is about to purchase or renovate one.

Richard S. Irwin, M.D., University of Massachusetts Medical School

from the Foreword

Much as physicians cure sick persons, Mr. May and other indoor air quality professionals 'cure' sick homes and buildings. Unless the cause of illnesses arising from indoor allergens or other pollutants is effectively addressed, medical treatments may be extended unnecessarily or may even be ineffective... This book will be informative for those who think their health problems may be caused by their homes. Such problems can be frustrating to affected persons and to their health care providers, who are often unaware that the quality of indoor environments is connected with health and disease.

from the Foreword, Jonathan M. Samet M.D., Department of Epidemiology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health

William J. Monafo

Working with Jeff May has completely changed my attitude toward the impact of the indoor world on human illness. His work has allowed us to focus on the true sources of allergic disease—the microscopic organisms that the immune system must deal with every second we spend indoors. His advice profoundly benefits families with environmental sensitivity, including those with immunologic conditions beyond allergy and asthma.

William J. Monafo, M.D., American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

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